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Marijuana Could Prevent Alzheimer's, New Study 807

Posted by timothy
from the that's-just-like-your-opinion-man dept.
Chickan writes "'A puff a day might keep Alzheimer's away, according to marijuana research by professor Gary Wenk and associate professor Yannic Marchalant of the Ohio State Department of Psychology. Wenk's studies show that a low dosage in the morning of a certain canavanoid, a component in marijuana, reversed memory loss in older rats' brains. In his study, an experimental group of old rats received a dosage, and a control group of rats did not. The old rats that received the drugs performed better on memory tests, and the drug slowed and prevented brain cell death.' My fine university's dollars at work!" Maybe it works even better in combination with brain-preserving sips of coffee.
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Marijuana Could Prevent Alzheimer's, New Study

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  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:46AM (#26621983) Homepage

    I wonder which will be first to market -- marijuana spiked coffee, or coffee-flavored marijuana?

  • Re:Rational (Score:4, Interesting)

    by garcia (6573) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:03AM (#26622299) Homepage

    Hey, where's the roadside test for vicodin? Prescription codeine or morphine? Dextromethorphan?

    I didn't bother to get into this discussion because the answer is obvious. Those chemicals are developed by commercial entities which pay big money to politicians to ensure that they are the only painkillers marketable to the masses. When an effective substance can be procured for next to nothing, they want to keep it off the market.

    Plus, my original post, especially the part about the color of someone's tongue was, well, tongue-in-cheek.

  • Re:Rational (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hobbit (5915) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:06AM (#26622361)

    s/hippies/supposed mexican rapists/
    s/risk/fun/

  • Re:Rational (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:32AM (#26622815) Homepage Journal
    There's a justification if you happen to be someone I want to harm. It gives me a way to sic the government on you.
  • by GargamelSpaceman (992546) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:44AM (#26623023) Homepage Journal

    Ya know, it's probably nothing special about marijuana per-se. Maybe it's just that causing your brain to malfunction with drugs, and make connections it would otherwise ( rightly ) be tuned not to make, exercises connections that don't get used much since the learning they embody is 'over and done with' and has been for years.

    Your brain expects a connection to remain viable permanently. But under assault from plaques etc in the case of alzheimers, often connections break down unexpectedly. Causing them to be revisited periodically (when high) because a chemical makes the connection once again interesting for a time, may allow the brain to find and correct errors that have cropped up before too much damage is done. In the case of Alzheimer's and certain drugs used for pleasure, the damage if any done by the drug may be outweighed by the brain fscking itself ( metaphorically ) more often.

    I've read that the following have beneficial effects for alzheimers: Caffiene, Marijuana, Nicotine. What else might cause a fsck? It might be interesting to look for beneficial effects associated with:

    Psilocybin, Opiates, Antidepressants etc.

    Antidepressants seem the most likely to be relatively harmless, yet trigger the brain's error detection and correction mechanism. Antidepressants basically work by messing things up. Soon the brain copes, and then they stop working, and the meds must be switched. The new med works slightly differently, so the brain can't cope immediately. Maybe exposing the brain to substances that cause different kinds of errors could trigger different sorts of fscking mechanisms to repair different sorts of errors that might crop up in alzheimers.

    Or maybe not.

  • Re:Carcinogneic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pictish Prince (988570) <wenzbauer@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:59AM (#26623315) Journal

    Cannabis/Marijuana is carcinogenic, and about four times as carcinogenic as tobacco.

    Since you didn't give any references I'll assume you're just blowing hot air.

    By way of contrast, why don't you read some peer-reviewed articles [nih.gov].

  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:41PM (#26624067)
    they joke about this in the auto insurance ads. However, we could start seeing the *real* effects of mj use, if there are any.
  • Re:Rational (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:43PM (#26624107)
    yawn.

    Go away troll. Your study is one of few vicious studies, but there are an equal number number that show with moderate use there are limited effects. They key is moderate use by normal citizens. Anything can be abused so overuse isn't a suitable criteria. This is especially the case with MJ because contrary to trollish opinion, the majority of us are normal, upstanding citizens, who have to hide our recreation from the trolls of society.

    Most of your argument completely sidesteps the real point. These "side effects" and "negative effects" would occur if you smoke any dried plant, including any and everything you find in your garden or a number of herbs that are legal and commonly used by people everywhere, or engage in any number of perfectly legal activities. And these effects can be completely eliminated by changing the way you take the drug.

    For the record, I smoke Da Chronic (>19yr) and I'm a practicing PhD rocket scientist. My physician finds no evidence of the chronic and I'm very honest with him about my use & history. I saw a psychologist a few years ago who essentially told me I was paying him for "good conversation." I was pleased when he shared with me his love of the chronic. I don't drive impaired, mostly I don't go in public impaired. Not to mention I'm a triathlete and I volunteer in my community. I also unexpectedly had some short stories published last year. Let's talk about the deleterious effects of MJ after you finish a 13 hour Ironman and have a healthy conversation with me about the SS ablation in the event of coolant failure on the RS24.

    AC for obvious reasons.

    My only point is that I am a responsible, normal, maybe successful member of society and I just want to be left alone. Unfortunately, to fight an ass it takes an ass. Fuck you.
  • granddaddy was a drunk in germany and ireland, and so alcohol is familiar

    while marijuana was something that was first encountered as something brown-skinned people used, and therefore, exotic and scary and somehow more dangerous

    the first american anti-marijuana laws were in the western states in the early 1900s, and they were explicitly pointed at mexican and mexican american behavior:

    In the early 1900s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The revolution in Mexico in 1910 spilled over the border, with General Pershing's army clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, bad feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the depression came and increased tensions, as jobs and welfare resources became scarce.

    One of the "differences" seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them, and it was through this that California apparently passed the first state marijuana law, outlawing "preparations of hemp, or loco weed."

    However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church's reaction to this may have contributed to the state's marijuana law. (Note: the source for this speculation is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a paper for the Virginia Law Review, and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.)

    Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923), Nevada (1923), Oregon (1923), Washington (1923), Arkansas (1923), and Nebraska (1927). These laws tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican-American population.

    http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2003/12/22/whyIsMarijuanaIllegal.html [salon.com]

  • by truckaxle (883149) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:32PM (#26625075) Homepage

    I would dispute

    1) Not eating poison.

    As that is a recent entry into their list of survival and propagation concerns. Then I would replace it with

    1) Obsession with sex

    Now the list looks a lot closer to what the human brain is concerned with.

  • Off Schedule I (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xelios (822510) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:55PM (#26625493)
    Marijuana, Schedule I:
    Findings required (from Controlled Substances Act):

    (A) The drug or other substance has high potential for abuse.
    (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
    (C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

    None of these conditions are met for marijuana, so why isn't its Schedule I classification being challenged in court?
  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KatAngel (1454415) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @02:24PM (#26626099)

    I actually have some data from my sociology class that could support his claim. I don't have a reference to give you, except that the story is found in "The Human Experience" reader. I don't have it handy, or I'd give you a more exact reference, but the gist of the article was that all victimless crimes - not just marijuana, but also things like prostitution - serve to keep peoples' eyes off of the rich. It's typically the poor who are driven by desperation to do many of the victimless crimes (though, I suppose that could be argued in the case of marijuana, but there's still a significant portion of marijuana smokers who are poor or middle class).

    In essence, when someone is arrested for marijuana or another victimless crime, it goes on their permanent record. It keeps the poor poor, because these people find it difficult if not impossible to find a steady job with a criminal record, and so, in order to survive, and with the mentality in place that "I'm already a criminal, so I can't really fall any further," these people often begin resorting to thievery and other crimes that are not victimless, and are sent to jail. Because the poor have been driven to these crimes, the eyes of the general population are drawn to them, and they say, "The poor are the criminals of our society. The poor cause all of our problems." Their eyes are diverted nicely from the problems of the rich as the enforced problems of the poor seem to carry more weight.

    So, in that regard, it does help keep rich people rich. Or at least, it keeps them in power, which, in a roundabout way, keeps them rich.

    The person who wrote the article was a professor teaching a class on the American justice system. Ironically, as an exercise, he asked the students to develop a prison system with the express intention of keeping the rich in power (before explaining all of the above to them), and what they developed was almost an exact copy of the American justice system.

  • Re:safer drugs? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @02:46PM (#26626523)

    Need to post AC because I don't want to get anyone in trouble. My grandmother suffered from dementia towards the end of her life. The worst part was she wouldn't eat. The Dr. recommend legal prescribed drugs and like the parent post mentions she ended up getting minor liver damage from the drugs that were supposed to help. My uncle who was caring for her at the time decided he'd give the prescription a rest and give her a hash brownie to see if it helped.

    Sure enough a brownie for breakfast seemed to keep her appetite stimulated most of the day. The last couple years of her life she was very content. She also seemed to have more good days than bad. We always figured it was because she was eating (at her worst point she was under 65 lbs), but maybe it was the THC. Thankfully my state is now a legal medical marijuana state so I hope other families can help their loved ones without the fear of being arrested.

  • Re:Carcinogneic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @02:47PM (#26626543) Homepage Journal

    Cannabis/Marijuana is carcinogenic, and about four times as carcinogenic as tobacco.

    No it is not: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729.html [washingtonpost.com]

    What you are repeating is a clever bit of propaganda: They measured the difference between unfiltered joints and filtered cigarettes, and instead of concluding "filtering reduces carcinogens by a factor if 4", they declared "cannabis causes cancer".
    There are several things wrong with this conclusion, the first of which being that the sought-after active ingredients of cannabis, THC, are cancer-suppressants, while nicotine is carcinogenic.
    Another is that they measured different smoking technologies, and declared a difference between different materials smoked, rather than different methods.

    When hearing about a scientific study, you need to make an effort to go look at what they actually measured, rather than simply believing their conclusions. They pull this sort of dishonest stunts all the time.

  • too bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ClintJCL (264898) <clintjcl+slashdot @ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @02:49PM (#26626571) Homepage Journal
    Too bad for you that marijuana is a completely non-toxic substance. Chew it 24/7 your entire life and you wont get mouth cancer. Look into it. Find out what an LD50 level is.
  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Onymous Coward (97719) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @04:24PM (#26628105) Homepage

    Actually, vaporization is far more efficient than combustion. The material is heated to the point where the organic volatiles (cannabanoids and terpenes) go through a phase change from semi-solid to gas.

    One of the things I absolutely love about drug debate is the informed, relevant, calmly intelligent commentary coming from sources who you can't help but believe are learned advocates because they're users. The irony of the contrast with the popular myth of "dope" and its effects is amusing, as is the contrast with the often misinformed, fallacious, and belligerent commentary from detractors. Fun stuff.

    (No offense, but I should mention it's spelled "cannabinoids".)

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile.mindless@com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @04:25PM (#26628109) Journal

    wild tobacco is almost hallucinogenic and non-addictive whereas commercial tobacco is just addictive because of its extreme nicotene content.

    Sorry, but that's simply incorrect. From "Growing the Hallucinogens" [erowid.org]:

    Uncured tobacco is very potent -- the Indians who used it would often pass out after as little as one cigarette, and "communicate with the gods." This type of tobacco should be smoked with caution. The danger here is death from overdose rather than addiction. When used as a ritual narcotic it is not smoked often enough to result in addiction.

    And Wikipedia's entry on wild tobacco: [wikipedia.org]

    Wild tobacco is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of South America. Its botanical name is Nicotiana rustica. [snip] "Nicotiana rustica" is the most potent strain of tobacco known to man it is commonly used for tobacco dust or pesticides.

    Note that article quotes a nicotine content of 6.5% for Y1, while the entry for Nicotiana Rustica claims 9% [wikipedia.org]; in other words, the wild variety contains more nicotine than the cultivar specifically bred for a high nicotine content by tobacco companies.

    Finally, New World Encyclopedia's [newworldencyclopedia.org] entry on tobacco:

    Nicotine is also a powerful psychochemical, which acts on the nervous system. In large doses it can be a hallucinogen. In smaller doses it affects the functioning of the nervous system in various ways, as well as affecting the circulatory and endocrine systems. These effects are considered pleasurable and desirable by tobacco users.

    The hallucinogenic compound in wild tobacco is nicotine. It isn't addictive is because it simply isn't possible to smoke wild tobacco in the same quantities as the cured tobacco used in cigarettes without dying; or, looking at it the other way, cigarettes are addictive because they aren't strong enough to have a hallucinogenic effect, so you can chain smoke them and remain conscious.

  • Re:Not before bed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @04:42PM (#26628367) Homepage Journal

    Quit smoking indicas and stick to sativas if you smoke before bed. I have no problems dreaming at all and I wake up fully refreshed after a sativa sleep. Indica sleeps are absolutely deep and dreamless.

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Interesting)

    by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @04:57PM (#26628559)

    I always thought that marijuana has never been legalized, is because no one can ever remember where they left the petitions!!!

    Hemp AKA marijuana was legal to begin with in the US. Many of the USA'a Founding Fathers were farmers who grew hemp. The first three presidents of the USA George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all grew hemp on their farms. Thomas Jefferson once said farmers should be required to grow hemp, however he couldn't propose such a law because he knew that it would violate the farmers' rights. Hemp was only made illegal with the passage of the Marijuana Tax ACT [wikipedia.org] of 1937. Yet even then it wasn't compleatly illegal. During WWII the federal government's Department of Agriculture produced the movie "Hemp for Victory" [youtube.com] and showed it to farmers to encourage them to grow hemp. Besides the oil from hemp seeds, hemp was used to make cloth, cords, and rope.

    Falcon

  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @05:12PM (#26628777) Journal

    Alan Ginsberg wrote a reasonably scholarly treatise a few decades ago called "The Marijuana Papers" detailing the campaign of Harry J. Ainslinger to portray marijuana smokers as some deranged combination of heroin and speed addict. Nobody knew any differently, and the media channel was rather narrow in the late 30's when Ainslinger used the weed as a plank in his senatorial campaign. We would somehow need to unravel and counter that in order to repeal the damage. I'd suggest you're right, that some form of education campaign is in order here.

    And marijuana wasn't actually rendered illegal in subsequent legislation, it was simply given an egregiously high federal tax per ounce on its sale. By avoiding the tax, traffickers were able to be pursued by federal rather than state authorities, thus its entrenchment in federal pursuit.

    It was postulated that since the perception was that only blacks smoked hemp, the idea of this "social disease" being transmitted cross-culturally implied a form of sanction for racism, and thus appealed to the fearful white anglo-saxon protestant (WASP) that made up most of Ainslinger's voter demographic in 1938.

    Anyway, if you can find a copy it makes very interesting reading.

  • by shaitand (626655) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @06:14PM (#26629811) Journal

    This is a misnomer anyway. The old studies showing that marijuana causes memory loss were refuted long ago. In fact, almost all of the supposed negative effects of marijuana use were reported by one biased research team and their work can generally be dismissed outright.

    There is a short term memory impairment caused by consistent regular high dose usage but it returns in an extremely short period of time after discontinuing marijuana use. The memory effects of years of marijuana use are reversed after as little as a month of discontinuing use.

    The real negative side effects of marijuana use are 'a false sense of well being' *scratches head over that being considered negative*, the aggravation of already existing heart conditions, and the ability to cause and/or exacerbate lung conditions/cancer. The last is actually caused by the inhalation of smoke and can be avoided by using other means of ingestion.

    Whole marijuana, like any other herb, will NEVER be considered a legal treatment for any condition by the AMA or FDA for Alzheimer's or anything else. The medical profession as a whole does not recommend natural supplements and herbs, they prefer prescription medications that are composed of purified and isolated chemicals.

    The best that can be hoped is that prohibition and prosecution will be stopped against those using, posessing, distributing, and selling what is a fairly harmless herbal supplement. Addiction rates and known side effects (and liklihood of incidence) pale in comparison to over the counter medications like ephedrine, cough syrup, and asprin; not to mention prescription medications.

  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shaitand (626655) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @06:27PM (#26629997) Journal

    Actually, in the most the united states its almost that easy. You just have to pick the males as soon as you can differentiate them (marijuana has male and female plants, the good stuff comes from the unpolinated flowers of the female).

    Most of the 'secret' information about growing marijuana is needed to compensate for the inability to grow it outside under the full power of the sun, rich natural soil, natural mineral rain water, and the flowing open air. In those conditions outside in a temperate climate marijuana is an annual that will grow to monsterous size, reach nearly the theoretical maximum potency for the strain in question (Not all Cannabis is Cannabis Sativa you willfully ignorant botonists).

    Culling the males prevents pollination and causes the females to enlarge the pistols and produce copious amounts of resin on the flowers (the resin is the good stuff) in hopes that pollen will stick to it.

  • by Terminus32 (968892) <nathanlindsell@NospAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @07:22PM (#26630821) Homepage
    These plants & entheogens...cannabis (THC), peyote (Mescaline), Mushrooms (Psilocybin) & ayahuasca (DMT) have been used by various cultures since the dawn of time, and have influenced our evolution alot, though some people seem to overlook this. These 'sacred and magical' plants may have been responsible for the mystical experiences of Moses & many other 'prophets' in religious texts. Users claim they connect you to the world around you, give you a deeper understanding of the universe & expand your mind, opening your third eye. Anyone who doubts the validity of the experiences these chemicals offer must remember that hallucinogenic drugs such as DMT are produced in our brain via our pineal gland when we sleep, and alot of these chemicals resemble certain neurotransmitters. We are under the influence of them all the time! Do alot of Google-ing and you'll be surprised!
  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harry666t (1062422) <harry666t&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @07:58PM (#26631363)
    As I've stated in another post in this thread, I do not do any drugs (although I'd like to try out salvia), preferring meditation and other natural methods.

    I do not own a TV. It's been veeeery long since I've observed that no matter how many channels I have to choose from, there's still nothing interesting to watch. Later I've learned that you don't need to watch TV for longer than 30 seconds before your mind shifts into an alpha state, where you are very, very susceptible to manipulation. So I do my best to avoid TVs, and I don't feel like any of the value is being lost.

    Oh, and the spiritual growth? You probably do not know how does it feel like, and you'll never understand until you'll feel it. I could go on talking about it for a whole day and you'll learn nothing. This is like an orange. You could write an essay on oranges and you'll know nothing about them until you've tasted one.

    Physical stuff. When I was poor (and there was a time when I was /very/ poor), I thought money would solve all of my problems. Well, I recently got a nice new job, etc, and now I have more money than I really need. Well, what would I spend it on? New computer? Hell, I've got six, why would I need seventh. A car? Besides that I don't have a driving license, I always go everywhere by foot anyway. And what, my work is 5 minutes away from home and my university is 15 minutes away. A TV? Rotfl. A new dish washing machine, because the old one broke last month? I've found manual dish washing an excellent form of meditation, and in the meantime, the old broken junk started working again. Hmmm... The pot! No, I do not do drugs... Hookers?... Uh, I don't have trouble picking up girls. A new set of strings for my guitar... Now, that's something I could make a good use of! That's 20 PLN (about $5). Hmm...

    It's not that I've lost all interest in all material stuff -- I'm aware of its important role in my life (and raising awareness is one of the points of spiritual evolution). I just realize now that it couldn't make my life better beyond a certain point, and that's where other things come into play. One of these other things is exploring the world that could be seen only through the eye that most of us have not opened yet.
  • "Canavanoid"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RexTremendae (1462977) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @07:59PM (#26631379)
    "Canavanoid" = cannabinoid. If the professor himself described the substance in that manner I am skeptical of the conclusions of his research as it would seem that, after exposure to all of that chronic, he has forgotten how to spell!

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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